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‘In The Museum of Antiquated Offices: Exhibit C, fax machine’

I jerk awake some nights, jabber in tongues
of space-age dolphins, a blip blip red-eye
scanning lost horizons for a connecting signal.
A curl of white paper blooms – like winter
roses under glass – briefly warm to touch
as grey smoke ghosts of secretaries pass.
I crave the tap of polished fingernails
the gossip thick recycled air, someone
to riffle pages, take them to eager desks.
No-one stops now. The clack of heels on tiles
recedes into the slam of doors closing,
leaving me to dream an inky sky studded
with asterisks for stars, the twinkling of years
some reminder I was the future once.


Emma Simon was selected to take part in the Jerwood Arvon mentoring scheme last year. She has been published by The Interpreter’s House, Under the Radar and Bare Fiction. She was commended in the Battered Moons poetry competition last year and won the Prole Laureate competition in 2013.

“I wrote this in response to one of Kim Moore’s prompts on her course, What Work Is. We were thinking about the objects that are – or were – part of our working lives. I’m not that old, but can remember when the fax was the most hi-tech bit of equipment in our office. It made me slightly nostalgic for my 20-year old self – so I think that’s were the poem is coming from.”


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Image credit: Richard Schatzberger